Tom Burchill discusses Liverpool FC’s preseason tour, the tournaments they will be playing in and the teams they may end up facing.
Pre-season counts for nothing other than to show off your new shiny players, give squad players a chance and to boost your fan base internationally. Despite all that, we still watch every game. No matter the time zone.
This year will be no different.
Liverpool’s pre-season fixtures kicked off when they eased past Sydney FC despite landing just a few hours earlier. It was a routine 3-0 win that saw Sturridge, Firmino and the unlikely Moreno find the back of the net.
Let’s just hope he didn’t impress too much in case Jürgen thinks about giving him a second chance.
Now we’ve entered the lull period where players dare have time off to spend with their friends and family and club action does not resume until the middle of July. At least this gives the transfer window a chance to open (not that it has stopped anyone doing business) and hopefully means a few extra additions to the match day squad.
Next stop Hong Kong. On July the 19th, Liverpool FC will participate in their first game in the Premier League Asia Trophy in front of a crowd of 40,000. The tournament contains four teams that will first play a “group stage” game followed by a final or a third and fourth place play-off dependent on if they win.
As the name suggests the teams involved are all from our domestic league and include Crystal Palace, Leicester City and West Brom. The Eagles were a late addition to the tournament after AVB’s side Shanghai SIPG pulled out – the team that is now home to Oscar and Hulk.
I think this tournament, despite not looking overwhelming on paper, is a great way for Klopp to show we are not going to suffer the same woes at last season. Two comfortable wins here and we will set the bar early that these teams will not be a problem anymore.
Our third stop on the tour involves Klopp’s return home as LFC fly to Germany. On the 29th of July, we are due to battle it out with Hertha Berlin at the 75,000 seater Olympic stadium. Despite relegation just four seasons ago, they have recovered remarkably well and for the last two seasons clinched a spot in the Europa League.
The real reason we are in Germany, however, is for our appearance in our “biggest” preseason tournament known as the Audi Cup. The tournament will follow the same two-day structure as the Asia Trophy and will take place at the Allianz Arena.
Instead of Premier League teams, Liverpool will face two European giants. These sides include Bayern Munich, AC Milan and Atletico Madrid.
This tournament will be our first opportunity to play against Champions League opponents and will give us a taster of what lies on the other side of our qualifier. Similarly to us, AC Milan has been a sleeping giant in recent years but I am sure they’ll give us their all based on our clubs’ joint history.
A win in Germany would really set the bar high.
Our last stop of the tour is just across the pond in Dublin. At the Aviva Stadium in front of 50,000 fans, you will not be watching us pick apart Shamrock Rovers this time. Instead, Liverpool FC has lined up a clash with Athletic Bilbao on the 5th of August. Last season they finished 7th in La Liga.
We have not played Bilbao since the 1983/84 season so it will be nice to play a team we are unfamiliar with. It will be everyone’s last trial run before the start of the new season so it should be a good tie. It’ll also be the tie in which Klopp’s favoured XI becomes most apparent.